In the years BC (before Covid-19) ‘not knowing’ was increasingly something to be getting used to. But the pandemic has now taken not knowing to a new level, and caused us all to realise that we had barely scratched the surface of ‘not knowing’.
In this immense uncertainty, I have been awed by the response of our client companies. They are demonstrating huge reserves of focus, compassion, thoughtfulness, generosity and kindness towards their people. Perhaps these are the ‘reserves’ that were being built up by so much task-focus in the good times, being reserved in our unconscious for a catastrophe such as this?
There is thoughtfulness about how to help their people adapt to home-working, if it is not habitual for them, and a really wise focus on balancing the support that people need to process what is happening with the need to live in a new and functioning ‘normal’.
We were expecting to be quiet for a while, as the world works out what matters and what doesn’t. But we’ve been very surprised by the volume of demand, to turn in-person development work into virtual alternatives. What has been most heartening about this demand is that it is overwhelmingly driven by a desire to offer people a reassuring connectivity and continuity for the sake of well-being, support and community. It is not being driven by a concern for productivity or an untimely bid to return to BAU.
Much of it is also about adapting learning & development to support people even more than normal with their very immediate work challenges. And even though that might sound very task oriented, it has been much more in the spirit of ‘what do our people managers and leaders need to help them feel supported and empowered, to then enable their people to feel supported and empowered.’
More than one client has also expressed interest in support to share and capture the most inspiring of behaviour of these times. Their motivation is a desire to uphold and normalise what currently feels exceptional such that they can continue to live to these standards of thoughtfulness once we all reach the other side of this unfolding global tragedy. Inspirational is as inspirational does.